A history of submission
Before we even get started, you should watch the trailer for Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). And now, welcome to our breakdown!
The trailer opens with Harley (Margot Robbie) pronouncing, “a harlequin’s role is to serve.” That voiceover combines with a shot of a young Christian girl kneeling before an altar. It could be Harley, but the brunette hair suggests it’s probably one of the many other women involved in this movie: Perhaps Huntress, who comes from an Italian family.
Todd Phillips’ Joker movie hits theaters this month, and it’s already been dominating pop culture discourse. Harley has no time for him anymore, though. They’ve broken up and she’s ready to move on to bigger and better things (Jared Leto is not set to reprise his Suicide Squad role as the Clown Prince of Crime).
The caged bird sings
Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) is known for her sonic scream, but it looks like the villainous Black Mask has a different use for her voice here: as the lounge singer in his foreboding club.
Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) was first introduced in Batman: The Animated Series. Greg Rucka’s comic Gotham Central later revealed her to be lesbian. Here, it seems like she’s definitely on the outs with the law. We see her pack up her desk at the police station as Harley realizes she “wasn’t the only dame in Gotham looking for emancipation.”
Huntress is here
Huntress was the focal point of the short-lived Birds of Prey TV show from the early 2000s, and she’s a big part of this movie too. This time she’s played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and she’s the daughter of a mafia gangster.
Bad in black
Our first full glimpse of Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) makes it clear that he’s a pretty bad guy. Harley may have escaped from the Joker, but now she’s up against someone who likes to hang girls upside down, bound and gagged.
You wanna know how I got these scars?
Despite his name, Black Mask doesn’t look to be sporting an actual black mask in Birds of Prey — just some black gloves and a menacing demeanor. He’s not the only Birds of Prey villain rocking a different look here. Victor Zsasz is usually covered in scars (one for every person he’s killed) but Chris Messina‘s version only has a few visible on his neck.
Bud or Lou?
Since Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn has sometimes been accompanied by two loyal hyenas named Bud and Lou. It looks like she’ll get at least one of them in this movie, if only so she can share a Lady and the Tramp moment with Twizzlers.
Captive in the club
Harley is obviously on a path of emancipation from her toxic relationship with the Joker, but it seems like she’ll also have to free herself from some literal bonds over the course of the movie as well.
Harley Quinn started as a cartoon character, and Birds of Prey seems ready to incorporate some cartoonish elements such as this obvious “booby trap” and the bomb she throws at the end of the trailer that might as well have “ACME” printed on it.
Though the trailer mostly focuses on Harley, we do get this one shot of the Birds of Prey gang all together. Montoya, Huntress, Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), Harley, and Black Canary: Time to get in formation.
Gentlemen prefer Harleys
It’s unclear whether this is a dream sequence or a real performance at Black Mask’s club, but this movie certainly seems to feature a sequence where Harley imitates Marily Monroe’s iconic performance in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
It’s unclear what exactly is meant by the film’s colorfully wordy subtitle (The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), but Harley certainly looks like a free woman here, walking through a jail with guns blazing and declaring “I’m the one they should be scared of.”
The trailer ends with a fun little scene featuring Harley asking Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) to throw a cartoonish bomb for her while she drives. In Batman comics, Cassandra is a mute girl trained from birth to be an unstoppable assassin who eventually becomes Batgirl. Here though, she seems to just be a young girl threatened by Black Mask.